Introversion is a tendency, not a type.

Think of Your Introversion as a Tendency—Because It’s Not a Type

Myth: Introversion is part of your personality type. Reality: You don’t have an either/or personality type. You have personality tendencies. Your introversion is one of them.

If you’ve ever watched a Major League Baseball game on TV, especially in the relatively recent past, you may have tuned in just in time to see some of the infielders—and perhaps an outfielder or two as well—wildly out of place.

For example: Perhaps the shortstop had drifted over to the right-hand side of second base (i.e., 
positioned between first and second) 
instead of the normal left-hand side (between second and third), while the third-baseman had wandered over to shortstop.

Meantime, maybe the center fielder had moved basically into right field (joining the actual right-fielder, who had moved all the way to the first-base foul line), while the left fielder had moved clear over to center field.

Maybe you even witnessed all four infield players positioned between first and second base, leaving the left-hand side of the infield completely undefended.

What you were seeing was just one of a hundred variations of what is known as the shift. It’s a defensive strategy based on nothing more than a particular hitter’s tendencies.

The shifts described here would be used against a left-handed hitter who has a strong tendency (identified by analysis of statistical data) to “pull” the ball—that is, to hit the ball to the right-hand side of the infield, or to right field in the outfield.

Granted, this tendency isn’t particularly conscious or controllable (unless you believe it’s possible to intentionally “steer” how you’re hitting a 98-mile-per-hour fastball).

It’s also not a foregone conclusion.

But it’s definitely real—real enough for opposing teams to adjust their defensive strategies for it. (Although, as of 2023, thanks to a change to Major League Baseball rules, the shift has effectively been banned—for practical purposes, at least. Though teams are still managing to find loopholes at times.)

Tendencies Aren’t Certainties

Tendencies play a role in strategy in other sports too.

Consider the penalty kick in soccer, a situation where the goalkeeper has to cover a mammoth-sized space (24 feet wide by 8 feet high) while the opposing player takes a free, uninterrupted shot from just 12 yards away.

The keeper is allowed to move side to side on the goal line but can do nothing else until the ball is kicked—putting him/her at an extreme disadvantage (which, of course, is the point; it’s a penalty kick, after all).

So what do professional goalkeepers do?

They study opposing players’ penalty kick tendencies, again using statistical data. Does this shooter have a tendency to go high and to the keeper’s left? The opposite?

Again, a shooter’s tendency is not a shooter’s certainty. But it is consistent enough for keepers to predict it.

Of course, conversely, shooters study keepers’ penalty kick tendencies too. Does this keeper usually dive right? Left? Stay in place?

Introversion Is a Tendency, Not a Type

Why does talk of tendencies matter, especially in the context of introverts and introversion?

It matters because your introversion is also a tendency.

Which is to say—and strongly emphasize—that your introversion is not a type, the name of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator notwithstanding. (If I ran the zoo, it would be called the Myers-Briggs Tendency Indicator.) defines the term tendency as follows:

  1. A natural or prevailing disposition to move, proceed, or act in some direction or toward some point, end, or result.
  2. An inclination, bent, or predisposition to something.

Take these very well written, appropriately precise definitions to heart where your introversion is concerned.

Yes, you most definitely want to be sure to give your introversion its due in your life.

You have a tendency, perhaps a very strong one, toward introversion in most cases.

Count on it. Plan for it. Embrace it. For the most part you will anticipate correctly, and you’ll keep yourself happy and healthy as a result.

That said …

Don’t fall into the trap of seeing your introversion as a foregone conclusion in every single circumstance and every situation of your life.

Don’t let that word/concept type lead to typecasting where your individual thoughts, feelings, and actions are concerned.

It’s a Tendency Toward Introversion

I myself am right-handed, and 
if I were the guy taking that penalty shot in soccer, I’d use my right foot.

That’s just my tendency, largely because it comes easily and naturally to me, as the definition of tendency suggests.

Yet …

When I’m playing basketball and I go in for a layup with my right hand (which is the hand I’ll use if I can possibly help it), I jump off of my left leg.

In this particular situation, a comparatively rare one in my life, my left leg works—and feels—better than the right leg that I normally have the tendency to use.

So yes, you’re an introvert. But remember, that’s merely shorthand for a spectral concept whose precision you can never overlook or ignore:

You’re actually someone who has a tendency toward introversion.

Looking at it this way, and living your life this way, gives you the room and freedom you need to thrive on your own individual terms.

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